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RBS poised to break up Asian unit for sale

Source: Reuters - Thu 2th Jul 2009

The Royal Bank of Scotland is poised to break up its Asian business after its attempted auction hit problems, the Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said a string of regulatory hurdles had emerged in recent weeks, derailing efforts to package the bank's operations across China, India and southeast Asia into one saleable business.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group had moved into pole position to buy the assets, Reuters reported last month, after interest from HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered cooled.

But the report said the three shortlisted bidders were now more interested in cherry-picking individual operations rather than attempting to buy the business as a whole.

RBS, 70 percent owned by the British government, is selling its Asian assets as it pulls back to core markets.

A spokeswoman for RBS declined to comment on the report but said they were in active discussions with a number of potential bidders on the sale.

RBS has previously said it would prefer a pan-regional bidder but would look at all options.

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